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How COVID-19 stalled Buhari’s economic transformation plan – Minister

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
05 October 2022   |   10:45 am
Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Adeleke Olurunmibe Mamora, has said the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 stalled the economic transformation progress been made by the current administration. Adeleke stated this yesterday in Abuja at the Flag-off of the National Dialogue between government and other stakeholders in the Science, Technology and Innovation…

Muhammadu Buhari

Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Adeleke Olurunmibe Mamora, has said the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 stalled the economic transformation progress been made by the current administration.

Adeleke stated this yesterday in Abuja at the Flag-off of the National Dialogue between government and other stakeholders in the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ecosystem on the establishment and implementation of the Technology and Innovation Centres for Global Competitiveness and Productivity.

The event was themed “Achieving Nigeria’s Competitiveness and Improved Foreign Exchange Earnings through Science, Technology and Innovation”.

The minister said the pandemic showed the inadequacies of infrastructure and policies, ranging from social protection systems to healthcare.

He added that the outbreak of the pandemic also led to high unemployment rates and poverty thereby reversing the gains achieved over the past few decades.

He regretted that the pandemic and its aftermath have shown that not much has been invested in the requisite innovation that could make societies more inclusive, sustainable and resilient

Adeleke, however, said the president had shown and improved government’s responses to change, and collaboration between government and investors including firms.

He said: “Over the years, the role of STI in the developmental agenda of the nation has been relegated. However, the dwindling revenue base and decline in foreign exchange earnings of the country, calls for serious concern, hence, the need to look inwards at the active impact Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can play in reversing these trends.

“It is equally important to note that there are declining trends in several areas of productivity which have not resulted in improved economic development.

“This is why this administration is innovating with a view to having a shift in policies most importantly the STI for economic recovery and growth.

“Let us not forget in a hurry that the economic transformation of the country should give a measure of readiness to move to a greater height to drive productivity, sustainability, and shared prosperity, thus achieving the aim of this government.

“However, the COVID-19 pandemic made a negative impact on businesses and thereafter stalled progress. This administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had shown and improved Government’s responses to change, and collaboration between government and investors including firms. Social safety net protection and sound financial institutional framework have been tailored towards the economic transformation of the country.”

Noting that more needs to be done to achieve desired goal, the minister disclosed that Research and development capacity and capability of the country based on governance and planning as well as an adequate health system are being put in place to contribute to resilience in all sectors.

Adeleke who described the theme as apt, said it would enable stakeholders to produce an effective and efficient national strategy document to support the monetary, fiscal as well as trade policies of government for a better and improved economy in order to develop convergence points.

“The Innovation ecosystems of the country are geared towards a drive aimed at generation of ideas, their translation into products, and the commercialisation of these products on a large scale.

“It is a known fact that the success of this is dependent on several factors, such as a very strong knowledge-generation area (universities, research centres and laboratories), and the active collaboration between these knowledge centres and commercial businesses. We still hope to improve on this.

“The breakthrough in technologies will definitely deliver the right solutions. The long term research and development would give the desired breakthrough, it is therefore required that all hands must be on deck to achieve this feat.

“The trajectory in business and research and development(R&D) are the main drivers of innovation including sound policies thereafter from good technological progress towards accelerating the goals of sustainability and shared prosperity, this was the reason for the establishment of the Presidential Executive Order-5.”